The Thor actor Chris Hemsworth is in Australia filming the next movie in the series: Thor: Ragnarok. He did a photo op with some fans who were hanging out near the set:
Livin is a small nonprofit in Australia that is trying to fight the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. They are in the spotlight now with this picture.
From their about page:
LIVIN® (Top Livin ABN 46 600 787 513) is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation that was founded to wipe out the stigma on mental illness and raise awareness for suicide prevention. LIVIN use apparel, mainstream media and profiles to make this change and get people talking about mental health. This strategy is perfectly aligned in our core target demographic and by implementing the mission, vision and values, we believe we can create generational change.
I'm glad to see this hot actor using his fame for a great cause.
I'm very happy to see this news. There is definitely a shortage of beds for psych patients here in The South. In my state, Alabama, we had an entire chain of psychiatrists' offices shut down.
Alabama Psychiatric Services had 18 offices across the state. Thousands of patients were left without doctors.
Now, in nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, a new mental health hospital is being built. It will have 88 beds. This is a joint venture with Erlanger and the Nashville-based Acadia care.
Some of the mental health professionals in the area say that they need more staff for existing beds, not new beds.
The CEO of Parkridge hospital, Darrell Moore, said:
"This is not an issue of licensed beds. It is about a shortage of behavioral health professionals — nurses, social workers and physicians."
However, Erlanger Senior Vice President Joe Winick said:
"They stay in the emergency department for days. We pay to house the patients and keep them safe, but they are not getting the health care they need."
I hope that this hospital will give more patients the care they need. People experiencing mental health emergencies don't need to go to a jail cell, which is where many of them are ending up.
In England, the government is funding new crisis centers for mentally ill people. Right now, many adults having an episode are thrown into police cells when they haven't committed a crime. Being thrown into jail can be traumatic for someone who is already having mental illness symptoms.
They want to build these safe spaces for someone to wait in until they can get a bed in the hospital.
Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at Mind, the mental health charity, said:
“We welcome this announcement, which details how money initially announced last May will be spent.
“Too many people in mental health crisis end up in police cells when they are unwell, because there is nowhere else for police to take them. When you are in crisis you need to be in an appropriate, safe, therapeutic environment, not treated like a criminal.
“This funding will help provide more suitable places to take people in some areas, and we look forward to future announcements detailing how the rest of the £15 million will reach frontline services, urgently, to ensure people in crisis get the help they need, when they need it.”
We hear of horrific stories here of police dealing with people with mental illnesses. Vancouver, Canada has a great idea. Their police force has a document with an outline on dealing with mental illnesses, which accounts for 30 percent of their emergency calls.
Many people with psychotic symptoms do not know that they are ill. They may lash out if they feel threatened. The police need to diffuse the situation.
They have a group of officers in "Car 87." They will come help you get a loved one to the hospital. They will bring a registered of psychiatric nurse with them.
They also rely on the help of family member to help deal with the sick person. They encourage:
"...Engaging the assistance of a family member or caregiver of the affected individual, who can often provide insight and perspective on the behaviour, and may be able to serve as an advocate...."
We need programs like this everywhere.
Of course it's New Jersey. The state is officially treating more mentally ill patients in prisons than the state's psychiatric hospitals. This is so sad. People with mental illnesses don't belong in prison with criminals.
Data collected by the Treatment Advocacy Center says that there are 1,543 beds in psychiatric hospitals in the entire state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Corrections reported that there are approximately 3,000 people being treated for mental illnesses in the prison system.
Dr. Ralph Woodward, the managing physician for the state Department of Corrections said:
“Inmates go through a brief examination done within four hours of arrival, just to make sure they don’t have any immediate problems such as medication needs or they’re in pain or they have mental health issues that might cause great anxiety or suicidal thinking, so we do that right as soon as they get off the bus. Then within 72 hours they’ll sit down with a mental health professional who will go into a much deeper interview with them as for suicidality and their adjustment to the prison system.”
They do have residential care beds in prisons as well as other units to deal with acute psychiatric episodes. Some inmates actually do well getting treatment while incarcerated.
It would be better if there were more hospital beds. Being in prison gives you a stigma. I can imagine that would add onto the self-stigma of having a mental illness.
My home state, Alabama is making the south look bad yet again. We have cut mental health spending.
There are no places for people to go when they are sick. Hospitals only have so many beds; it can be very difficult to find a hospital bed for an adult.
Sheriff Rick Singleton in Lauderdale County said:
"Did I really comprehend the magnitude of it? Probably not until I actually got into office and started dealing with it."
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said:
"The biggest problem is there are no beds, no place to put them when you get an involuntary commitment. We've had that at least three times this year."
Some people here also have a hard time finding a doctor who takes their insurance. We used to have a chain of facilities, called Alabama Psychiatric Services, shut down in February of 2015. Thousands of patients (myself included) had to either find a new doctor or find a way to follow their doctor.
Luckily, I'm able to afford to see my doctor even though she doesn't take insurance. Many people don't have that option. This is ridiculous; people with mental illnesses need to have places to get treatment or they end up on the streets.
I came across an interest Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) thread today. The person conducting it is a Community Development specialist. He designs programs to help police officers deal with people with mental illnesses.
His name is Scotty and he had this to say about training police officers:
"This is a great question. I am very upfront about making sure officers know that they're not expected to be clinicians. In fact, I always tell them I don't care if they can tell the difference between bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, etc. my wife's a mental health therapist (in training) and if can take her months before she's willing to make a form diagnosis."
"All I care about is that the officers can say, 'okay this guy isn't just being a jackass or trying to lie to me -- he has a mental illness.' At that point we give them a set of small changes to their response that will improve their interaction no matter the diagnosis. But it is surprising how little some officers know about mental illness so we try to cover the most important signs and symptoms of the more common disorders."
If police officers were better prepared to handle a mental health crisis, it could save a lot of lives. Some people may not be lucid enough to tell the officer how they are feeling. They need to learn to recognize the signs of a panic attack, a psychotic episode, and other mental health emergencies.
Police officers are also likely to be frustrated, tired, and in a rush. They need to learn to chill out and focus on helping the person who is sick.
The police also need to be able to tell the difference between an organic (mental-illness related) or a drug-induced psychosis. Scotty said:
"Drug-induced psychosis tends to involve more paranoia/suspicion, visual hallucinations, and risk for aggression. However, this isn't always the case."
"Organic psychosis tends to have a different trajectory of illness and, overall, appear much more like social withdrawal and depression than the wild-eyed, crazy person that the media portrays."
"It gets tough when the two combine, and, unfortunately, is it extremely common for folks with an organic illness to use substances. Often, in my experience, the folks who engage with the police more often are those who have both mental illness and substance abuse happening."
This was originally published on Liberal America on June 30, 2016.
Texas just isn’t doing well lately. They have had a string of bad court rulings. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote this about their abortion ruling:
“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”
These are the same people that allowed a family to not educate their childrenbecause they thought they were going to be Raptured.
They want to make it nearly impossible for women to get abortions. However, they are all for having guns. Women can’t have reproductive rights, but you can carry guns everywhere.
In fact, Texas is now allowing people to bring guns into psychiatric hospitals.
Read that sentence again. Guns are going to be allowed onto psychiatric wards. Do they not think about these things? Can these lawmakers even read?
Before the open carry laws were passed, guns were completely off-limits at psychiatric hospitals. Now visitors are allowed to bring them in. The employees are still banned from bringing them in though.
You can now bring a gun into the psychiatric hospital with mentally unstable people. However, if one of these patients decides to use the gun to hurt people, the employees can’t do anything about it.
Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Health, said:
“While licensed visitors are legally permitted to carry on our hospital campuses…Our patients are being actively treated for psychiatric conditions and generally it’s best not to expose them to weapons of any kind.”
Just this week, we had a mother, Christy Sheats, shoot her two daughters in Texas. A parent shot her daughters over a fight she had with her husband. Sherriff Troy E. Nehls said:
“Mr. Sheats stated Christy knew how much he loved Taylor and Madison and how much they loved him. By killing his children Mr. Sheats will have to live the rest of his life with this horrible memory.”
This was originally published on Liberal America on June 9, 2016.
Tennessee recently passed a law that allows mental health providers to turn away atheists, gay people, or any other “sinners” they don’t like. Your religious counselor can turn you away if your “results” conflict with their religious beliefs. If you want to tell your parents you’re atheist or if you want help dealing with a same-sex partner, you may be screwed.
The bill definitely goes against the American Counselor’s Association rules. The Association’s rules say that a therapist can’t turn away patients for:
“…age, culture, disability, ethnicity, race, religion/spirituality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital/partnership status, language preference, socioeconomic status, immigration status, or any basis proscribed by law.”
Two gay men in Tennessee have filed a lawsuit against the state government for violating their rights as gay people. Since the law was passed in April, people have said that the bill is discriminating against the gay community.
Bleu Copas and Caleb Laieski filed the lawsuit in Anderson County, Tennessee, claiming that the law violates the Tennessee Constitution and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, both of which guarantee equal protection for everyone under the law. The lawsuit said, in part:
“LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons were the target of the statute. They are singled out for discriminatory treatment. There is no other group which could conceivably be the target of the statute.”
Since the gay marriage ruling came down last June, Republicans everywhere have been trying to take other rights away from the LGBT-community. There have been all kinds of “religious freedom” cases all over the country. Florists, bakers, photographers, and others have been forced to provide services to gay people after refusing services.
States are passing laws to allow people to discriminate based on “religious freedom.” They were passed to keep conservatives from having to provide services to gay people. The President of the Family Research Council project said that allowing gay marriage forces people to go against their beliefs. These conservatives need to stop trying to take away rights from the LGBT community. There are lots of people in Tennessee who are probably having trouble getting help because of this bigoted law.
It’s gotten so bad that the president has had to talk about it. President Obama had this to say about the bullying of transgender kids:
“We’re talking about kids. Anybody who has been in school, in high school, who has been a parent should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority, kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially. They’re vulnerable.”
When asked if he was ever bullied in school, Trump said no. He just said that adults bully each other, too. That may be true, but bullying is a big problem for people of all ages. Letting kids get bullied just because “adults do it, too” is not a good defense. These kids are vulnerable. Trump just said:
“You know, it happens, right? But you gotta get over it. Fight back, do whatever you have to do.”
He is saying this because he is a bully himself. He spent months bullying Megyn Kelly because of the questions she asked him. He called her a “bimbo” and a “lightweight reporter.” He mocked a disabled reporter. He called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”
On the side of LGBT adolescents, nine out of ten get bullied in school. LGBT youths are four times more likely to commit suicide. That should not be dismissed with a “get over it.’